The secret of a great life: The secret to longevity
The secret is not the number of hours in a day, but how you eat, exercise and sleep, the theory goes.
The research, published today in the journal Science Advances, looks at the role of genes and lifestyle factors in the development of the body’s health.
For more than 200 years, the medical establishment has looked at genes and lifestyles as the most important determinants of the human lifespan, but the research is still in its infancy.
“We don’t really know how much impact these genes are having,” said Dr. Joanna L. Dittmar, a professor of medicine at the University of New Mexico, who was not involved in the study.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty about how much it’s influencing our health and our lifespan.”
So Dr. Ditchley, of the University at Buffalo, and his colleagues decided to investigate whether genetics and lifestyle might play a role in health and longevity.
Their results are based on data from nearly 2,000 people.
They found that people with higher levels of their own genetic make-up had significantly higher rates of disease, as did people with a high-fat diet.
“I don’t think you can say that diet and genetics are the only factor that affects our health,” Dr. L.
“This is not a case of one factor being more important than another.
It’s more that we need to understand the mechanisms by which this is occurring.”
The researchers also found that, even when people with the same genetic make up, the number and type of cells in their body varied depending on their diet and lifestyle.
For example, the higher their cholesterol, the less their immune system functions, while the higher a person’s blood pressure, the more he or she will develop type 2 diabetes.
A higher-fat, high-cholesterol diet is associated with increased inflammation and other chronic diseases.
The researchers note that a low-fat and higher-protein diet is also associated with lower levels of inflammation and type 2 diabetics.
The results could help explain why people who are obese have lower levels or even no detectable levels of genes linked to longevity, the researchers say.
The findings, Dr. Shweta Jha, a physician and co-author of the study, said in a statement.
“These findings may provide an important opportunity to understand how the human genome may affect health and aging.”
This article is reproduced with permission from Science News (www.sciencedaily.com), an editorially independent program of the MIT Media Lab.